Runaljod – Ragnarok is the latest effort from Nordic Folk band Wardruna and it’s absolutely excellent – although in all honesty, I expected nothing less from this album. The final chapter of the Runaljod trilogy (which is a piece of work inspired by the 24 ancient runes of the Elder Futhark), it serves as a grand finale to the trio of albums and it’s a stunning listen to say the least.
Wardruna has mastered the art of creating ambient and atmospheric music, and the wide variety of instruments utilised creates a unique and varied listen where you don’t know what to expect with each corner the album turns. The storytelling is absolutely masterful and the combination of emotive vocals atop of gently delivered folk tones will send shivers down your spine.
One of the most striking songs comes in the form of one of the middle tracks, entitled Raido. The most simplistic way to describe the Raido rune is as “journey” and that’s exactly what the song feels like. It’s like Wardruna have embarked on a journey and you’re joining them for the ride. The percussion underneath sounds like a rhythmic walking pattern and the way the song slowly builds up is very impactful. Additionally, the way the song ends in a very simplistic fashion, fading out after switching back to just an acoustic guitar with the percussion is very effective.
As a whole, another impressive album from Wardruna. Can this band do much wrong? Well, not really.